A guide to SWTOR Medicine Operative Healing for PvE. Written and edited by Invinc and Vindrik of Harbinger. Updated for patch 2.7
The Operative healing class is the most versatile in the game, as it has both heavy and quick heals, as well as instant hots and emergency abilities, as well as great dps support. An Operative healer relies on 3 important things: efficient use of hots, fast heals, and Tactical Advantage to buff your overall healing capabilities. The Operative is the only healer class capable of battle rezzing as well as being able to stealth rez (Cloaking Screen + Revive), and is by far the most mobile class thanks to its variety of hots, instant casts and simple resource management. Operatives have a reliable AoE heal, which while not as good as a Sorcerer’s Revivification, as it only heals up to 4 people and is cast on a target instead of on terrain, is still an effective method of group healing.
- Stim Boost: Grants 1 Tactical Advantage and an Alacrity boost for a short while.
- Shield Probe: Short CD that absorbs a moderate amount of incoming damage
- Evasion: 100% melee and ranged Defense for a few seconds, also purges all removable negative effects
Tricks of the Trade:
- Kolto Infusion and Kolto Injection: Single target heals, Kolto Infusion is faster, heals for less up front with a ticking hot component and consumes a Tactical Advantage, while Kolto Injection is slower and heals for more up front.
- Stealth: You become difficult to detect and gain access to some stealth-only abilities
- Cloaking Screen: Removes you from combat and places you into stealth
- Resuscitation Probe: Battle rez
- Stealth Rez: Cloaking Screen and a manual rez while out of combat
- Exfiltrate: Roll forward a short distance. While rolling, your chance to avoid melee and ranged attacks is increased by 30%. Upon use, grants a charge that allows a second Exfiltrate to be used. If this charge is consumed, Exfiltrate is put on a 10 second CD
Note: Surprise Surgery in the Medicine tree is a personal choice talent, as while it provides some on-demand Tactical Advantage at the start of a fight, has very little other use, since you will be wanting to save Cloaking Screen for combat rezzing instead of gaining Tactical Advantage. Depending on your primary role in the group, it is often better to instead put these points into Evasive Imperative, or Imperial Brew in the Concealment tree if you are often assisting with group dps (36 / 5 / 5).
1.1 Rates (1-10):
- Single Target Healing: 9
- AoE Healing: 7
- Group Utility: 7
- Rotation Difficulty: 7
- RNG Dependant: No
- Burst Heals: 8
- Dps Capability: 10
- Signature Ability: Kolto Probe
1.2 Gearing & Stats Priority:
- **Must Have** Accuracy: 101% Tech – 91% melee (1% from companion + 0% from talent = 0% from Gear)
- **Must Have** Above 5% Alacrity.
- 68-74% Surge
- 100-250 Critical Rating
- All other secondary stats in Power
- **Must Have** Augments: Cunning (Skill)
- Relics: Serendipitous Assault & Focused Retribution
- Alternate Relic: Boundless Ages
- Set Bonus: 4 piece Field Medic PvE
- Alternate Set Bonus: 2 piece Field Medic’s PvE & 2 piece Field Tech’s PvP
1.3 Gearing Overview:
- Accuracy as a healer is a wasted stat, as your heals themselves will never miss. As such, you should always be taking other stats instead, with no exceptions
- Alacrity gives the greatest benefit to the healer role, and is generally taken once you reach the soft cap for Surge, once the benefit per point becomes less incentive for Surge and more appealing for Alacrity. This generally occurs around 73%, but doing some quick personal number crunching based on your play style should give you a better understanding
- Taking a small amount of Critical rating as a healer is a good idea, as the benefit of Critical rating is decent for the first few hundred points of rating. However, stacking it is generally a bad idea, as the high diminishing returns leave Critical rating granting a smaller benefit than Power
- Choice of relics should be made on a fight-to-fight basis. Serendipitous Assault and Focused Retribution will give you a greater overall damage increase, while Boundless Ages will allow you to focus your burst into a short window for fights with tight burn phases
- Getting your set bonus as quickly as possible is highly recommended. It will increase your healing efficiency substantially enough that having lower item level armorings with the set bonus is still a better option than higher item level armorings without it.
1.4 Ability Priority:
- Kolto Probe
- Kolto Infusion
- Surgical Probe
- Kolto Injection
- Recuperative Nanotech
- Diagnostic Scan
- Orbital Strike
- Corrosive Dart
- Explosive Probe
- Fragmentation Grenade
- Rifle Shot
1.5 Healing Strategy
A Medicine Operative’s main focus is efficient use of Kolto Probes and Surgical Probes, as these are the most effective abilities you have at your disposal. Kolto probe is an excellent ability, with a very low cost, instant cast and decent heal over time, especially in high movement fights, liberal use of this ability will significantly benefit your healing capability. However, due to the several hot components to many of the Operative’s abilities, they are also prone to a great deal of overhealing. As such, you should make sure that you’re always picking the best ability for the situation to capitalise on your Energy efficiency and not wasting GCDs on excess healing. As with the other healers, an Operative cannot be measured properly through parsing due to the natural overhealing present with the hot mechanics, as well as ensuring that they are dropping their much larger heals on the right targets at the right time. Tactical Advantage is your special resource as an Operative healer, and you generate charges of it through your hot abilities with an internal cooldown, as well as on every use of, Hidden Strike, Shiv, Kolto Injection and Stim Boost, up to a maximum of 3 stacks. The Medical Consult talent increases your healing done by 6% as long as you have a stack of Tactical Advantage, so you should always be trying to keep a stack up at all times, as well as for the benefit it gives you should you need to drop a quick, instant heal on someone.
- Kolto Probe is not only your pre-cast heal before starting a fight, but also builds Tactical Advantage and is your most reliable baseline heal. It lasts 18 seconds, so casting 4 (2 stacks on either tank) would take 6 seconds. This means you have a lot of time to spend before having to refresh the timers, since if you use a Kolto Probe while there is at least one active probe on the target, it will refresh its full 2 stack timer. Because of this, you should always start a fight with 2 stacks on either tank (assuming they are both taking damage), as well as anyone you know will take damage early in the fight, then try to keep them maintained in the following order of importance:
- Other group members taking significant mechanic damage
- Sorcerer healing partner (provides a great help for their Consumption)
- Topping off someone who is not in imminent danger
- For some fights, such as the final burn phase of DP’s Dread Council, it may be worth pre-empting significant incoming group damage and trying to maintain 2 stacks of Kolto Probes up on every member of the raid. This method will allow you to refresh each Kolto Probe for 8 members, followed up a Recuperative Nanotech and either a Kolto Infusion or Surgical Probe based on your Energy state. While this method is the best way an Operative healer can provide full group healing, and will by far give you the highest possible healing output, it does mean that you have little opportunity to provide targeted healing outside of your single Kolto Infusion. As such, this should be reserved for times when the entire group will be taking equal damage for an extended period of time.
- Surgical Probe is an instant, free, reliable heal that consumes a charge of Tactical Advantage. The Surgical Precision talent causes your Surgical Probes to refund the Tactical Advantage consumed once every 10 seconds. It also synergises excellently with Kolto Injection, as you can provide a large heal, immediately followed by a smaller one, giving your Energy some time to regenerate. Doing so can either provide an enormous heal to one target in dire straights, or can be used to heal a low health target while stabilising another who is at a higher level of HP.
- Kolto Injection is your biggest single-target heal. It is relatively quick to cast, not hugely expensive, and generates a stack of Tactical Advantage. Kolto Injection is the core of your rotation which everything else will essentially revolve around. You can either follow it up directly with a Kolto Probe to refresh the timer, a Surgical Probe for a free heal, a Kolto Infusion when healing is more stressful, or a Diagnostic Scan to regenerate some Energy. These are all viable options that won’t leave you Energy starved, and capitalise on its large healing capability.
- Recuperative Nanotech is your only true AoE heal, but also has some great utility involved. It is a targeted ability that will heal up to 4 characters in a 10 meter radius from your target over 9 seconds. It is helpful to use in almost any situation, you just have to make sure that whoever you are casting it on is in range of at least 3 other people to maximise its benefit. The best use, however, is by casting it on yourself, since you can position yourself in such a way that it multiple targets who will benefit most from its effect.
- Kolto Infusion is a combination of a decent immediate heal with a strong follow-up hot. It has the same cost as Kolto Injection, but casts slightly faster and additionally consumes a charge of Tactical Advantage. As such, you should generally use Kolto Infusion while at high Energy and ideally with 3 stacks of Tactical Advantage. It is best to use on Tanks to keep them up with a decent heal and hot at any point, as the initial heal won’t be wasted, and the hot component will help to maintain their HP while they are continuously taking damage. It is also viable to use on another ops member that is sitting around 75% HP who is not in imminent danger of taking more damage, as it will be enough to top them off while you continue to focus on more pressing issues.
- Diagnostic Scan is your Energy regeneration ability, which provides very little healing but will provide a boost to your standard regeneration rate. The Patient Studies talent causes it to channel faster and regenerate Energy on critical hits, but due to its very low healing value should only ever be used as a regeneration tool. Ideally, you will only ever have to use a single Diagnostic Scan occasionally after a Kolto Injection to recover some additional Energy instead of using a Surgical Probe.
1.6 DPS Strategy:
Dpsing as an Operative healer is a pretty simple and easy job, as you have the best dps capability of all the healers for both single-target and AoE dps. With Orbital Strike, Carbine Burst and Fragmentation Grenade as your AoE abilities and Corrosive Dart, Explosive Probe, Shiv, Backstab, Overload Shot and Snipe for single targets, there is always something you can be doing to help out regardless of where you are in a fight. In a worst case scenario where you may not have enough Energy, you can either use Diagnostic Scan for some faster regeneration, or Rifle Shot to continue dpsing, which gives you some steady and free ranged damage, which is always a better alternative to standing there doing nothing at all.
- Orbital Strike is, in general, your best damaging ability, as although it has a long cast time, it deals a great deal of damage and is ideal for pulls, transitions, or burst phases, where those 3 seconds may not be able to be used on anything else. It has a relatively high cost, but its long cast helps you recover Energy prior to its cost. You should be pre-casting it on almost every boss fight to try and help out with the initial burst of damage, as well as using it on any tight burn phases or as often as possible if Enrage timers are a problem. Because it’s such a powerful ability and is used so often, this is why it’s suggested as a possible set bonus, since it will help improve your group’s overall dps. That being said, if your group is not lacking damage then sticking with the regular set bonus is perfectly fine, as it will give you better stat distribution, even if the set bonus itself is rather lackluster.
- Corrosive Dart is an excellent dot, as it isn’t too expensive, lasts a decent amount of time, does a lot of damage for its cost, and can be buffed by your talents should you need to. It’s a great dot to keep up on as many targets as feasible in a boss fight, just like Affliction for a Sorcerer healer, as you can simply tab target, quickly apply the dot and return to healing. Using it on multiple targets at once may take a few GCDs and a fair chunk of energy, however, so make sure that you can spare the time from healing.
- Shiv is the most important ability for a dps Operative, and as a healer it’s still a core part of your dps rotation. It’s very useful for an operative healer stacked near an enemy, as you will always be in range, it does a lot of damage, has a low cost, and generates a Tactical Advantage as well. This means that not only does it help out the dps, but it’s even benefitting your heals at the same time.
- Backstab could be considered an improved Shiv, with a slight twist. It deals more damage and costs less Energy, however it won’t grant you any Tactical Advantage. Even so, you should be using it often, in conjunction with Shiv, whenever you’re behind a target.
- Explosive Probe does the highest damage of all your abilities besides Orbital Strike, however because of this it is also the most expensive. If you have the to spare in your rotation, this is an excellent addition for any burn phase dps rotation, or in particularly light healing sections of a fight.
- Fragmentation Grenade is a very middle-of-the-road ability. It’s not hugely expensive and deals very mediocre damage, but it affects multiple targets and can be used at range. This means that if there are multiple targets it’s a better option than most abilities, and if you’re at range it’s good to work into your regular Snipe + Rifle Shot rotation to increase your damage output.
- Overload Shot is a general filler when you’re at close range and all your other damaging abilities are on cooldown. It’s not a huge damage dealer, but it’s better than standing there not contributing at all.
- Snipe basically fills the same role as Overload Shot, but while you’re at range instead of being close to the target.
- Carbine Burst is something that you won’t use particularly often, but it’s good to know how and when to use it. In fights with multiple adds that need to be burned down quickly, Carbine Burst’s frontal AoE is an excellent addition to your burst dps. In conjunction with Orbital Strike and Fragmentation Grenade, you may chew through your Energy and Tactical Advantage but you’ll be contributing a very significant amount of damage for the group.
- Rifle Shot doesn’t require much of an explanation. It’s free, it deals mediocre damage and it’s able to be used at range. It’s a good filler if you’re running low on and nobody needs any heals.
1.7 Tips and Tricks:
- Adrenaline Probe, just like other rapid resource gain abilities like Vent Heat, can be a little confusing as to how it functions due to the ability text. A 50 Energy gain plus a GCD’s worth of recovery means you are essentially gaining 55 – 60 Energy, however as a healer your Adrenaline Probe will also immediately grant you an additional 16 Energy, making it a total of roughly 70-75 Energy. Considering the fact that anywhere between 65 – 85 is the ‘comfort’ zone for Healing, this means Adrenaline Probe can be used at as little as 10 Energy to exploit its full potential without sacrificing much capability.
- Tactical Advantage grants you a 2% damage bonus to all abilities, and a 6% healing bonus to all abilities, and as such one stack should be maintained as often as possible, in addition to the increased versatility and extra options that having a Tactical Advantage available grants.
- Unlike dps rotations, Adrenaline Probe shouldn’t be used as often as possible. It isn’t smart to burn through your resources to use Adrenaline Probe more often, as you’ll need it to be available if something happens that requires a substantial amount of healing in a short period of time. It’s a good idea to have it available as often as possible, and only using it at a few planned points in specific fights that require you to be either dealing significant amounts of damage, or dishing out a lot of heals.
- Cloaking Screen + Revive is one of the most important aspects of an Operative healer, and as such it’s something that all Operatives should do their best to master. Having the Revive ability on your action bars and / or keybound is a must, and will often be the difference between a successful or a failed stealth rez. Trying to use Cloaking Screen and then click on a corpse to rez is a terrible mistake, as there is often a lot of clutter in the way, whether it’s your group mates or enemies running around that can easily make it very difficult to click on the corpse. When stealth rezzing, you should make sure that you have no dots up on any targets, and if possible no hots either, as these ticking can pull you back into combat and cause the rez to fail. Additionally, you should be aware of exactly what mechanics are happening so that you can time your rez accordingly. Using Cloaking Screen and starting a rez only to be hit by a timed AoE 2 seconds later is a complete waste that can be avoided. Similarly, your rez target should be aware of the same mechanics, and you should make sure that they know whether to accept the rez immediately or wait until it’s safe.
1.8 UI Setup:
The default UI setup is fairly horrible so I always make sure to adjust the following to suit my playstyle. Use ESC to open your options menu and go through the Preferences and Interface Editor.
- Under Controls, make sure Enable Focus Target is checked. This allow you to use alt + f to keep a boss on a focus target so you can see its health and abilities that are casted out. Also make sure Camera Max Distance is turned up to 100% as this allow you to zoom out much further.
- Under User Interface, pick Use Operations Frame as Group Frames. This will help you out in flashpoints as the default 4 player group interface is not very healer friendly.
- Selecting the Operation Frame will allow you to adjust the width, height of the red bars and also display health information. You can also adjust the size of the buffs/debuffs icons to suit your needs.
- Click on Focus target, make sure Show Information is checked as this will display boss health % and other info. Also make sure Focus Target Castbar is enabled as this will allow you to see the boss abilities.
All of these videos are just videos of typical operation fights.
1.10 Healing Parses
Healing as a role is not very well represented numerically, as it has nothing to do with how much overall healing you’re doing, but moreso that you’re healing the right people at the right time. As such, both hps and dps numbers for healers aren’t necessarily representative, as the two healers may have a system whereby one heals as much as possible, topping up everyone as the fight continues, while the other deals as much damage as possible, stopping to heal when people are taking large amounts of damage that the first healer can’t heal alone. Being at the top of the healing parses is actually something that can only be done by gaming the system, and having these enormous numbers actually means that you’re not being efficient, and were not benefiting the group to the best of your ability. Having high hps in a parse may mean:
- Your healing partner is either a poor healer or is allowing you to heal while dpsing themselves.
- The group is taking significantly more dmg than it should, so there is more health being lost that you can heal.
- You are gaming the system, being less effective but parsing higher numbers (e.g. Sorcerer | Sage not shielding but AoE healing at every opportunity despite the fight not requiring it, Operative | Scoundrel rolling hots when completely unnecessary).
- The group is collaborating with you to get higher numbers (e.g. Fight requires the group to be spread out, but instead stacks together to take significantly increased damage that is then AoE healed over time).
While dps can be judged at least partially based on their number parsing, as healers there is no numerical representation that properly demonstrates how effective you are being. As long as the group is surviving and you kill the boss, you have done your job, and the overall hps for the fight means absolutely nothing. The only real way to judge a healer’s efficiency and ability is through feeling, which sounds out of place, but if they aren’t healing when they’re needed to, or they’re healing the wrong people at the wrong time, you’ll be able to feel the difference when compared with someone who is on the ball and always doing exactly what is required.
About the Authors
Invinc and Vindrik are both members of <Hatred> on Harbinger, an endgame progression guild with world 3rd clear of Nightmare S&V, World 2nd clear of Nightmare TFB, world 1st speed clear (under 2 hrs) of Nightmare S&V, and numerous server firsts at the 8m level.
Invinc is the guild leader of <Hatred> and mains an operative DPS but plays pretty much every and all classes for operations. He currently leads the parses on operative lethality DPS on multiple boss fights and dummy parses. Also known as Carlenux, Carlenix (sniper), Carlenx (Sorcerer), Pyrotec (Powertech)
Vindrik mains an operative healer and is the raid leader for group B in <Hatred> (World 5th speed clear of Nightmare S&V). He is the former raid leader of <Notorious Synergy> on Dalborra, one of the world top guilds pre-2.0 (World 4th).
While the information here are mostly written by these two players, numerous other Hatred raid members and guides were consulted. Questions, comments, concerns will be answered by Invinc, who goes by the name of Carlos Eduardo Mata in the comments section below.